Officially, the Warriors first-ever Social Media Night at Oracle Arena came and went on Saturday, but it’s safe to say that the event’s impact continues to extend far beyond the reach of last weekend. With involvement from players, coaches and most importantly the fans, Social Media Night created a one-of-a-kind experience that will continue to grow in years to come.
Like many teams, the Warriors have placed a heavy emphasis on using social media in a variety of innovative ways to connect with fans, but the team took it to a whole new level during Saturday's game against the Phoenix Suns. It started with the players and coaches being the first in the NBA to wear shooting shirts adorned with their personal Twitter handles during pregame warm-ups. Even coach Jackson had his own shirt emblazoned with @JacksonMark13. By all accounts, the shirts were a big hit among the players – many of them tweeted photos of the shirts once they saw it hanging in their locker – and the fans couldn’t get enough of them either. These limited edition shirts were made available for sale in the Warriors Team Store and as expected, only a few are still available.
Whether it was Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or on the team’s official mobile app, fans were never at a loss for social engagement on Saturday. All they had to do was look at the center hung HD scoreboard, where fan-created tweets scrolled across the bottom of the screen throughout the majority of the game.
Whether or not fans were social media savvy, they were entertained by the constant scroll of tweets up on the big board. And there’s no question that some were inspired to ‘get social’ when they received a pair of texting gloves, courtesy of Esurance, that were given to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.
In addition their tweets being seen on the big board, fans were also encouraged to take action on Social Media Night. The Warriors hosted several contests throughout the night for prizes that included the special edition shooting shirts, autographed photos, seat upgrades courtesy of Pogoseat and much more. During these contests, fans were asked to do their best #Bazemoring impression, take part in social media scavenger hunts or simply answer trivia questions. One such challenge had the Warriors giving a prize to the first fan wearing both Warriors and 49ers gear – keep in mind that the Social Media Night took place the day before Super Bowl XLVII – at a particular location on the arena concourse. To no one’s surprise, it took all of 6 seconds to find a winner.
One of the best things about these contests is that fans were also able to participate at home. Fans unable to attend the game were encouraged to submit their #WarriorsGround photos via Twitter and Instagram for the chance to win prizes. In addition, those who downloaded the Warriors app were eligible to win a free T-Shirt via the team’s Virtual T-Shirt Toss.
In the spirit of utilizing as many social channels as possible, fans who checked in to Golden State Warriors Home Game on Facebook were invited to attend a postgame Q&A with Jarrett Jack, hosted by CSN Bay Area’s Ric Bucher. And wouldn’t you know, all of the questions Jack answered came straight from the fans via Twitter and Facebook. Jack thoroughly enjoyed the unique event with fans, tweeting afterward that it was the 'best Q&A ever.'
Social Media Night concluded with the Jack Q&A, and by all accounts it was a night to remember. But that’s not where things end for the Warriors and their connection with fans. The players have been seen wearing their shooting shirts in the days since the event and the fans continue to stay connected to the team’s social efforts each and every day. There’s no question that the bar has been raised for the team in its digital efforts, and now the challenge is to continually meet and exceed those higher expectations. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to creating a unique connection and conversation with all the #DubNation faithful who make #WarriorsGround such a special place. #LetsGoWarriors.